Thursday, June 16, 2011

That Comedy Thing at the Lamb, Eastbourne

Back in May I blogged about some of Eastbourne's upcoming cultural offerings, into which I was planning on throwing myself wholeheartedly as part of my reintegration strategy since moving back in December. So far, it's been a mixed bag of events. The two outdoor festival things were not so inspiring - partly due to bad weather in the case of Eastbourne Fiesta, but also I suspect, a lot to do with lack of creativity on the part of the organisers.

But it's not all bad. Last week I went along for the first time to my local pub's comedy night. It's a great pub and I go there all the time, but I didn't know what to expect from a stand up show in its bijoux upstairs function room. I was pleasantly surprised. The night, called That Comedy Thing, is organised by Eastbourne resident Jo Neary, who also happens to be an established comedian with a great network of funny friends. This helps a lot in attracting rather more glittering lineups than one might expect to a tiny (not really a) theatre in Brighton's poorer (culturally at least) seaside cousin.

Last week's lineup was especially appealing, including as it did Jim Bob from Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. I was a big fan of the band in my schooldays and introduced many classmates to such classics as Sherriff Fatman, Anytime Any Place Anywhere and The Only Living Boy in New Cross. One of my friends even had the Jim Bob haircut in the last year of school. Sharing the billing was Isy Suttie (aka Dobby from Peep Show), whom I had not encountered before, having never watched Peep Show. The venue was packed and both did brilliant turns.

Claiming confusion over his eligibility to perform at a comedy night, Jim Bob nevertheless managed to tickle us all with his witty ditties about Tesco self checkouts and a torrets-inflicted teacher, alongside some acoustic versions of old Carter favourites. Having never seen them live back in the heyday, it was a bit of a thrill for me (and my equally excited school friend Daniel) to be treated to such an intimate set.

Comedy with music is my favourite type of comedy, so I was pleased to see Isy Suttie rock up for the second half with guitar in hand. Hers was an inspired brand of storytelling comedy, following a quirky love story narrative and far more compelling than the average cynical stand-up. And it had songs. If you're off to Edinburgh Festival this summer, I highly recommend catching her Pearl & Dave show - for which the Lamb gig was a practice run.

There are several more Edinburgh warm up shows happening at the Lamb over the next few weeks - grab your tickets from Oxboffice. Meanwhile, a big 'yay' to Jo Neary for putting on such a great night right on my doorstep. I will definitely be a regular from now on.